Depression
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Experiences with Depression and Meditation

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Posted 6 years ago

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Meditation

Meditation has absolutely helped me in fighting depression! It seems that often a contributing factor to our depression in the west (I know that is a generalization, but it is often true) is our persistent and circular thinking patterns...we never let ourselves have a moment's rest. Some, especially ancient, cultures have a way of slowing the mind so as not to get so caught up in the mind (the use of which is after-all, only one way of "knowing").

Most of us use our minds at work (and not our bodies), we never let our minds rest (since we feel that "haste makes waste"), we "relax" by watching TV (which actually drains us of mental energy instead of building us up after a day of constant thinking), we move our bodies much less than our ancestors, we find it uncomfortable to just "be" with someone without "doing" something, and then - to top it all off - we try to THINK our way out of our sadness through so-called "rationalization".

It takes work - in the form of mental-training - to help our minds stop thinking "way too much." This is where meditation comes in. Many people find that a daily yoga, meditation, tai chi, or qi gong practice often helps them to "quiet the mind." I have ABSOLUTELY found this to be the case. A simple yoga practice that focuses on the breath and ends in a meditation has changed my depressed state immensely. This is not to say that I am never depressed anymore, but they come less frequently, and I am more able to accept them as part of the normal ups-and-downs of life. (This sounds cliche until you try it and know how profound it really is.)

Someone once explained it to me like this when I first began learning to meditate; They said, "Thoughts will come when you're sitting in meditaiton - it is inevitable. But you can choose not to dwell on these thoughts that arise. It's kind of like when a plane goes overhead; you know that it's there because you hear it, but it doesn't necessarily cause you to stop whatever you're doing and you don't have to look up at it, and eventually it passes. The same is true with your thoughts. When a thought comes up and you may get a little lost in it, just remember to focus on your breath and not on the thought. Practicing this in meditation will make it easier not to focus on negative thoughts in your real life." - Easier said than done, I know. Practice!

But helping train your mind to be less "chatty" as I call it, can help calm your soul as well. It's helped me with my depression (specifically my circular-thinking), but it takes time to find a practice that works well for you. And once you find one, only then does the journey actually begin.

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rnijhon
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Posted 6 years ago

Meditation has been a huge tool in helping me with my depression. I don’t think many people realize that most of our day is filled with activities that take us out of ourselves, so when you sit with yourself, even for just a few minutes, it can be so incredibly powerful! It helps you to see your thoughts, and to see the way that you think. We are almost always on autopilot and we never question the thoughts that come into our heads. I used to let the negative thoughts dominate me. I would just be going in circles in my head, telling myself the worst stuff about myself, until one day I had this incredibly negative thought, and I was so shocked I just burst out laughing!

I realized that I was letting these thoughts control me, but in reality, I am the one who has the control. Meditation has really helped me gain this incredible capacity to witness myself, and to help me separate all the junk that flows through the constant stream of thoughts. I don’t have to let those heavy dark views attach to me and bring me down. As my meditation skill began to grow, the thoughts would just stop all together (maybe 15/20 min into the meditation) , and when you stop thinking, that is when you can start feeling! You just tap in to all the wonderful energy around you, and it gives you this amazing sense of wholeness, of completion. It’s hard to stay depressed when you feel that universal love! Don’t get me wrong, I still have my dark days, but Its great to have this as a tool!

Meditation takes a little bit of time to build, but that is what I liked about it when I first started. I would say if you have never done it before, take it easy! Try to do it a couple times a week, for like 5 min at a time. It’s like doing a workout – you have to start with the 10lb weights before you can lift the 20lb. Over time you will start to see a shift in your thoughts, in your mood, in the way you react to the world and how you perceive the world. It will become easier to sit for longer without even trying. Don’t take my word for it, just try it! You can see what happens for yourself:)

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Posted 6 years ago

I have definitely had my share of times suffering from depression. One major contributor to helping me out of the pit was my grandfather who taught me ways of meditation. With meditation on a regular basis is key, it provides the ability to focus on what is really going on inside you and helps you with the idea that you have the mental ability to overcome anything you want, you just have to accept the thought. It puts you in a state of mind to seek your deeper thoughts and problems that need to be put forth to solve. There are many different ways of meditation. Definitely finding a calm peaceful place to do it in and a focal point is key to making it work in the beginning stages.

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